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How strategic mentorship is helping SwipeRx strengthen public health in Southeast Asia

JJIV portfolio company SwipeRx is the largest network of pharmacies in Southeast Asia. A Johnson & Johnson supply chain expert joined the SwipeRx team for a six-month secondment to optimize their fulfillment process and accelerate their impact.
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Onsite at SwipeRx's facilities, J&J MedTech Site Production Planning and Logistics Lead, Mohit Agarwal (right), assesses the company's warehouse and space utilization.

Across Southeast Asia, patients visit pharmacies 10 times more often than they visit a physician, according to a recent report developed by the Centre for Impact Investing and Practices (CIIP), Singapore Management University (SMU) and Accenture. More than 80% of pharmacies in the region are independent; while this gives them flexibility to adjust to local needs and build trust, it also makes consistent access to quality, available and affordable medicines challenging. If these pharmacies could level up their services, capacity and knowledge sharing, the potential for increased, near-term quality of care is tremendous. To do so, however, pharmacies need greater training, supplies and other creative resources. 

SwipeRx solves this challenge by empowering pharmacies to be the center of care by providing much-needed pharmacy support. With more than 250,000 pharmacy professionals and 50,000 retail pharmacies across the region, the digital platform is the largest network of pharmacies in Southeast Asia. 

Addressing resource gaps with holistic, strategic support 

Johnson & Johnson Impact Ventures (JJIV), an impact fund within the Johnson & Johnson Foundation, has supported SwipeRx in its work since 2021, as part of its global portfolio of investments in early-stage companies and partnerships working to accelerate access to affordable and quality healthcare for all. At JJIV, investment means more than capital: resources available to JJIV portfolio companies include impact measuring and reporting, thought leadership, field advocacy and, crucially, access to J&J employee subject-matter expertise and mentorship. 

“No one company can solve complex public health challenges alone,” says Caitlin Bristol, Social Innovation Director, JJIV. “And companies typically need a significant level of resources and support, beyond investment funding, to achieve their goals, especially at early stages when teams are small. At JJIV, our goal is to actively support healthcare companies in our portfolio and address some of those resource gaps. We aim to connect portfolio companies with our 150,000 employees from across J&J globally to offer knowledge, expertise and mentorship to help social enterprises accelerate progress and grow their impact.” 

J&J’s employee engagement strategy, Talent for Good, activates employees to work directly with partner organizations, including JJIV’s portfolio companies, and apply their time and expertise to build healthier communities around the world. Its secondment program, which matches J&J employees’ specific skills, knowledge and experiences with immersive, months-long assignments with partner organizations, brings the Johnson & Johnson Credo to life. The program helps develop socially responsible and resilient global leaders and creates meaningful change and a healthier, more equitable world.

Boosting warehouse efficiency to maximize impact

SwipeRx was keen to take advantage of these support services and so, in March, Mohit Agarwal, Head of Production Planning & Logistics at J&J MedTech in India, joined the team on secondment to offer strategic supply chain support.

Over the course of the six-month engagement, Agarwal worked with SwipeRx’s Fulfillment and Operations teams to help launch one of the largest retail pharmacy distribution centers in Indonesia, assisting the team to improve the design and processes of the new warehouse. This included a trip to Jakarta with the SwipeRx team in-person discussing problem statements, potential solutions, analysis of data, trials and a review of layouts of fulfillment centers. The final proposed warehouse layout was designed to increase space utilization by up to 75% while minimizing the further investment needed, as well as enhance productivity. As a result of this work, there were measurable increases in productivity and service delivery increasing pharmacy satisfaction.

During the secondment, Agarwal also assessed a number of logistical challenges affecting the team—such as data verification and unpredictable supplier lead times—and made recommendations to resolve them, some of which SwipeRx is currently implementing.

Stefani Adi is SwipeRx’s Director of Fulfillment, responsible for order fulfillment and delivery to pharmacies across Indonesia. “My team and I are excited to continuously improve our customer experience by providing on-time and in-full order processing, with cost efficiently maintained. This collaboration with Johnson & Johnson through the Secondment program enabled us to have the opportunity to brainstorm ideas, enhance workflows and enrich our perspectives from a more mature organization, which in turn provides better results both in terms of key metrics and satisfaction from our customers,” she says.

For Agarwal, his time working with SwipeRx has provided an insight into the inner workings of startups and e-commerce businesses, as well as allowing him to share his own professional experience. “I must express my sincere appreciation for the warm hospitality extended to me by the entire team during my visit,” he says. “Moreover, the transparency and strong work ethics upheld by the team left a lasting impression on me. SwipeRx is undoubtedly a remarkable organization and I am grateful for the opportunity to have learned about their impactful work during my Secondment.”